- CO I: 478, 59.27%
- CO II: 1285, 50.61%
- CO III: 2,366, 28.14%
- CO IV: 814, 11.38%
- CO V: 781, 8.42%
Friday, March 11, 2011
Failure rates high on the Texas prison guard career ladder
Wednesday I mentioned that RIFs (reductions in force) among Texas prison guards could probably be accomplished through attrition instead of having to do actual "layoffs." Today let's look a little closer at the turnover rate among Texas correctional officers, as described in a report (not online) I received in an open records request from TDCJ called "FY 2010 Agency Turnover by Title.".
Here are the total number of Correctional Officer "separations" from TDCJ in FY 2010 for all reasons, along with the respective turnover rates for the employee classifications COs I-V that year.
At least three notable problems jump out:
1. TDCJ is having a hard time retaining new hires. Someone hired as a CO I who wants to work their way up the ranks has a 80% chance of washing out before they make it to CO III. (Multiplying success rates for the first two categories, i.e., those who didn't "separate" from the agency, one gets .4073 x .4939 = .2012, or a 20.1% success rate, and conversely 80% failure.) In other words, TDCJ must hire and train five CO Is to end up with one, fully trained, more experienced CO III down the line. The others are going to disappear on you.
2. The agency is hemorrhaging CO IIIs, with 2,366 employees under that classification leaving the agency in FY 2010. Once employees make CO IV, separation rates begin to stabilize as employees presumably decide stick it out for retirement. But that's an 85% washout rate before COs reach that level. The large number of CO III departures is particularly troubling from a management perspective because that's happening after they've been fully trained and completed any probationary period. So replacing them requires not just paying someone else their salary but training, certification, etc., representing a significant drain on the agency.
3. Both the House and Senate filed budgets anticipate cutting front-line guard pay, eliminating the 7% boost given them in the last biennial budget to increase retention rates. Some of that money was spent on front-end subsidies to attract new hires that will now go away. As the economy improves - particularly as oil prices rise - the struggle to attract and retain employees at TDCJ will only worsen.
Jobs are scarce, so people are still applying, but from these numbers the job clearly isn't for everyone. Many are called, I suppose, but few are chosen - or more accurately, few ultimately choose to stick with the profession beyond the short term. Apparently this is a job most applicants don't want to do no matter how badly they need the money!